LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Tuesday - February 17th - was the original date the Federal Communications Commission set for television's switch from analog to digital. But Congress delayed the switch for four months saying folks were not ready.
Even if you have one of the coupons and wanted to set your television up for the switch you might have trouble getting your hands on the coveted converter box. "I guess I am lucky," says shopper Linda Bernal. She got the last converter box at Best Buy Tuesday morning. "I didn't get around to getting it until just now," adds Bernal.
"A lot of people waited until the last minute," says Best Buy Service Manager Jeremy Williams. That's why retailers around the Hub City have empty shelves, and more empty shelves. Jeremy Williams says last weekend the front of Best Buy was full of converter boxes.
"It's not just us other places they're running out," says Jason Hartis who works in the electronics department at Target. "I wish I had hundreds of them because I could sell hundreds of them a day," he says. NewsChannel 11 went in search of a converter box placing nearly 30 calls to stores to check stock. Though not impossible, it was difficult to track one down.
"Real high demand right now. We keep running out and we keep changing brands RCA, GE, Ventura as soon as they make them and they run out we have to find another manufacturer it's been that bad." Retailers tell us not to get too hung up on different brands. "There's no real difference between the brands. The basic function is they take the new digital signal and convert it so it will work on their old analog televisions," says Williams.
One retailer we spoke with compares the demand for the box to some of the Wii products around the holidays. All the stores we spoke with Tuesday, either in person or over the phone, say they could get another shipment of converter boxes in at anytime. NewsChannel 11 will continue to broadcast both digital and analog signals until June 12th to give folks time to get ready.
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The Big Switch - Countdown to DTV